Painter has weekend to remember

Norfolk's young athletes made the long journey to Gateshead for the English Schools Athletics Championships.

The top performer of the Norfolk team was Michael Painter. In front of an appreciative audience he threw the intermediate (under-17) boys hammer out to 66m 8cms to record a fine win.

He will go on to represent England in the schools international match in Cardiff later in the month. It is remarkable that Michael attended his school prom first and then travelled up to Gateshead and arrived a few hours before the competition. This is a weekend that he won't forget in a hurry!

The second athlete to win a medal was Jimi Tele, a boarder at Wymondham College, who finished third in the senior boys triple jump with a fine jump of 14m 95cm.

Emma Tillbrook confirmed her early season form by jumping well to finish fourth in the under-17 girls long jump with the excellent distance of 5m 48cm. Tom Hook won his 1500m heat but in a tactically run final finished he finished sixth.

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Another sixth place went to Zino Mario Ghae who cleared 1m 90cms in the senior boys high jump. Gemma Vickery, competing in her first English Schools event, was another to finish in sixth place when she threw 36m 36cm in the U17 girls hammer competition. Stephanie Burt was eigth in the senior girls javelin and threw a very good 40m 27cms.

Laura Green jumped well to record a distance of 11m 18cm in the senior triple jump.

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Laura Johnson ran a personal best of 12.6 sec in the junior girls 100m and Sasha Birrell jumped well in a very long U17 girls pole vault competition to finish with a height of 2m 85cm and 14th place. Clieo Stephenson missed out on a place in the U17 girls 100m final. Sadly there were no team trophies for Norfolk this year.

It is a great honour to be selected for your country and Sophie McKinna and Callum Brown will represent Britain in the World Youth Games at Lille, France next week.

They would almost certainly have won medals at Gateshead. UKA (United Kingdom Athletics), the governing body for athletics in the country, denied them the opportunity of competing for Norfolk at Gateshead.

Competing for your country must take priority. Fair enough, but Jessica Judd a fine runner from Essex, was allowed to compete for her county at Gateshead and she will also compete in the World Youth Games too. She won a fine 1500m race but just to rub salt into the wound she denied Norfolk's Nastassaja Potgeiter a place in the final too. It is clearly unfair that different rules apply. UKA most certainly have a case to answer about fairness here.

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